VACATIONS INC. ACHIEVES INCREASED REVENUES AS A RESULT OF A COMPREHENSIVE MARKETING PLAN IMPLEMENTED BY BLIZZARD INTERNET MARKETING, INC.
Heather Austin, Blizzard Internet Marketing, Inc.
Vacations Inc. is a property management company offering vacation rentals in the Winter Park, Colorado area. Their inventory includes condos, town homes, and private homes, and they offer packages for group skiing trips, family getaways, and individual weekend escapes in the Rockies.
The Vice President of Sales & Rental Management, Brian Lence, came to us in March 2004 looking for a complete overhaul on the existing Vacations Inc. website design. He put his complete trust in Blizzard, believing that we could provide his company with improved overall Internet presence and traffic to the website, resulting in more bookings and increased revenue. It was important for Vacations Inc. to be completely immersed in the Internet by the beginning of the next ski season, as this is its most profitable time. Another marketing goal was to gain excellent search rankings in the three most important search engines, Google, Yahoo and MSN, with the most popular, relevant search terms.
The overall plan included a new design, dynamic marketing techniques, a strong e-mail marketing campaign, reliable hosting, and a web analytic tool, Blizzard Tracker, to measure the website’s return on investment.
Vacations Inc. was looking for a rich, professional look that would first “catch the eye”, then encourage the viewer to explore further. It was important to not only ensure that the lodging properties were highlighted in an appealing way, but that website visitors also were presented with many opportunities to either book online or call for more information. We also incorporated a new navigation system to ensure that the website would be user-friendly and perform well in search engines. Each page was designed to concentrate on using more descriptive, keyword-rich paragraphs describing accommodations and the Winter Park area. A new “header” was incorporated into the design and logo, and was part of an intentional effort to assist with their “re-branding” of the company name. We also recommended new and attractive photos, as they are vital to retaining visitors on the website and instrumental in increasing bookings.
The homepage now includes a ‘call to action’ text that links to the booking engine and each property page. Each property page, in turn, displays detailed information about the property, with rates and photos. We have added several new pages to the website, including individual attraction and activity pages, area information pages, and a Calendar of Events.
Once the design was completed, we began a very aggressive marketing campaign. The Internet marketing techniques used include building link popularity, using pay-per-click search engines, optimizing the new site with appropriate keyword phrases and text links, and submitting the site to several lodging, vacation rental and ski-oriented directories.
The graph below shows a great visual of how traffic has increased in the first seven months since the redesigned website’s launch in July 2004. We saw nearly 3,000 visitors per month at the start of Blizzard’s campaign, which has now increased to 10,210 visitors in January 2005. December’s traffic increased by 22.7% over November’s traffic, and January’s traffic increased again by 27% more than December’s! Link popularity went from 233 in March 2004 to 1,362 by the end of January 2005, and their Google page rank went from a 3/10 to a 5/10.
It is really exciting to see how well the site is performing in the organic search engine results (non-paid listings). This is a direct result of a well designed and optimized website! As of the beginning of February, the website is coming up in 1st position on page 1 for many of the company’s targeted keyword phrases. This includes Google, Yahoo and MSN search results.
Additionally, the Blizzard Tracker is showing specific niche directories driving a good amount of traffic and generating revenue. An interesting discovery is that while both Overture and Google Adwords are providing a solid return on investment, revenue generated from Overture is more than triple that from Google AdWords.
Vacations Inc. is having a very successful winter season so far, with bookings and revenues up 20% over last season. This is due in part to the addition of a number of condos, townhomes and private homes which have been given individual representation on the website, but primarily due to the “guerilla marketing” techniques of print and online advertising driving traffic to the website.
Brian Lence explains, “It is my belief that website design and Internet promotion has risen to a level of sophistication far greater than a relatively small management company can possibly hope to attain alone in-house. My decision to out-source this function, not only to a company that came recommended in this field but was a leader in the lodging industry, was based on a fundamental belief that the future success of our company was inextricably linked to the work put in by Blizzard on our behalf.
From the very start, I viewed this as a key partnership, which necessitated ongoing and regular communication with the design team and promotion department. There was, and still is, considerable effort conducted in-house to complement and enhance what Blizzard is doing for us, especially in the field of link-building and online advertising.
Finally, I felt it was vitally important to educate myself on all aspects of Search Engine Optimization, and to continue to keep abreast of all developments within this industry – primarily so I could understand and talk relatively intelligently with Blizzard about what they were doing, but also to explore and discuss new ideas and techniques for possible implementation to make our website perform even better.”
Please visit Vacations Inc.’s website at www.vacationsinc.com.